Trendy buzz words are always popping up in the marketing community, and “influencer marketing” is among the most popular right now. This popularity comes with good reason because if done correctly, influencer marketing can result in unparalleled sales, growth and equity for brands looking to improve their ROIs for marketing budgets.

What is influencer marketing? Influence marketing is a form of marketing that focuses on influential people rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals who have significant influence over potential buyers and orients marketing activities around these influencers.

Many have grown cynical toward advertising. The say it shows up in every conceivable place, makes ridiculous claims, plays to our most base instincts, and overshadows things that are actually interesting and important. In a world that is saturated with advertising, it is hard for people to trust any of the claims that marketers make.

This cynicism is often eroded, however, when recommendations for purchases come from friends or family members. A trusted recommendation comes with more credibility than an advertisement. That is why, according to Netpop research, 79% of social media users use these sites to find information and recommendations about products.

Advertisers realize that they can use the power of social media and other Internet tools to market to their customers indirectly. By encouraging people to talk about and recommend their products online, advertisers gain a unique advantage over their competition.

Influencer marketing may be trendy right now, but it isn’t new at all. It has been utilized for a long time; we have just been thinking about it and defining it differently. Celebrities have always been the main influencers in their respective fields, prompting brands to partner with them to promote their products.

What makes influencer marketing so special in 2017 is the way social media communication has leveled the playing field, giving anyone and everyone the opportunity to share their opinion. If they do this well enough, anyone with Internet access can become an influencer. Anyone with a smartphone can produce high-quality photography that ten years ago could have only come out of a $5,000 camera. The most intriguing people will rise above the rest. These individuals that excel in terms of following, engagement and/or content creation are a new breed of social media influencer that has transformed the marketing landscape. These are the individuals brands are scrambling to work with, and you can be, too.

So, is influencer marketing an important and worthwhile strategy to put your resources towards? Absolutely, and it is fully capable of being your biggest catalyst for business growth. In fact, many young savvy brands are currently using influencer marketing as their sales/marketing strategy. The results are undeniable and, in comparison to the ROI of other marketing techniques, potentially one of the smartest investments you can make.